43rd Annual iarigai Conference at Ryerson University in Toronto

With members in 24 countries, iarigai (the International Association of Research Organizations for the Information, Media and Graphic Arts Industries) combined the knowledge of its members and the research community to present the 43rd annual iarigai conference. This year the event was held at Ryerson University’s Heidelberg Centre and co-hosted by the Print Media Research Centre and the School of Graphic Communications Management from August 24th-27th. “We are thrilled to host such an amazing group of researchers, academics and industry professionals,” declared the conference chair, Natalia Lumby, at the opening reception presented at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

There was an abundance of scientific and technical research from the speakers that ranged from the new fabrication approach for low cost RFID tags, to reaction platforms for enzymatic testing; from microscale halftone dots analysis, to the influence of the background colour on the quality of embossed holograms. Other topics included: inkjet-printed polyelectrolyte patterns for analyte separation on microfluidic paper-based analytical devices, colour management of tablet devices, optimized inking for cardboard food packaging, and a case of beer: a study to determine if the visual design elements of Ontario craft beer packaging communicate their unique flavour profiles. The range of topics between the research presentations, keynote speakers and Industry Day speakers was well noted by conference delegates.

The opening speaker, Daniel Dejan, ETC Print/Creative Manager from Sappi Fine Paper, spoke about the Neuroscience of Touch, and declared, “we live in an age of multichannel”. Dejan explored the concept and importance of interactivity between our senses, and how print enables us to fully interact and live within our world and interact with our surroundings. David Frolich, a professor and director of the Digital World Research Centre at the University of Surrey in England, spoke about his ten year case-study exploring photography with sound – a proposal made possible with ‘audiocamera’ and ‘audiopaper’ technology from HP Labs. He mentioned that if a technology trend is available today it would have been originally conceived five to ten years earlier, which references the ‘long nose of innovation’. There was also a keynote presentation focusing on colour delivered by John Seymour, The Math Guy. In a humorous presentation, Seymour explained colour using applied mathematical formulas.

Chloe Bois, a research and development manager at ICI in Montreal, Quebec, whose specialty is in the area of printed electronics, said that “it’s important to see the iarigai European family have a moment where everyone is in one place together” and use this opportunity to collaborate. This was her second time presenting a paper at iarigai and her third time attending the conference. She spoke about the “challenges facing new functional printed applications development”.

A representative from Tetrapak and attendee, Lars Palm, looked forward to learning about new technologies, materials and processes. “The reason for going to a conference is primarily to listen to the contribution of the delegate’s technical presentations. The most important thing when going to a conference is the networking – online or offline,” said Palm. “The coffee breaks shouldn’t be too efficient, too short, because you need to have these minutes to buzz with the other delegates.” This comment was common among the attendees, as noted with David Frolich and Chloe Bois as well. The balance between excellent networking and an excellent conference was achieved with the prominent buzz of conversation during breaks. Common specialty topics of interest among the attendees were Big Data by Sylvain Perrier and low cost RFID technology presented by Fritz Bircher, who will in fact chair the next conference.

The 43rd iarigai conference ended with a formal dinner at the Chelsea Hotel and a day trip to Niagara Falls, attending a tour at the Mackenzie Printery & Newspaper Museum, a lunch at Trius Winery at Hillebrand and a Hornblower boat tour. During the dinner Louis Vallat-Evrard received the best presenter’s award for his presentation entitled Microscale halftone dots analysis: A spatial threshold evaluation method. Louis is a PhD student at the LGP2 Grenoble-INP, AGEFPI and CNRS research institutes. Both the content and style of his presentation stood out to receive the best presenter award.

With a successful conference in Toronto complete, the members and delegates are looking forward to the following 44th iargiai conference held in Fribourg, Switzerland hosted by the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland.


Amanda Whyte is currently a Research Assistant and student at Ryerson University within the Graphic Communications Management program. She is interested in expanding her knowledge of consumer packaging and how technology is revolutionizing the printing workflow. amanda.whyte@ryerson.ca